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“I Do Not Support a Livable Wage”

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Usually, Republicans hide their contempt for workers in some kind of language of bootstrapism or something. But not Karen Handel.

“This is an example of the fundamental difference between a liberal and a conservative: I do not support a livable wage,” she said on Atlanta’s WSB-TV in response to a viewer question about raising the minimum wage. “What I support is making sure that we have an economy that is robust with low taxes and less regulation.”

Yeah, I’d say that is pretty much the difference between a liberal and a conservative. I guess in the New Gilded Age, Republicans aren’t pretending anymore.

Hopefully saying the quiet parts loud helps doom her.

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  • kped

    I’m not a campaign strategist, but I’d think saturating TV and radio with just that line, then Ossoff giving a short positive message should do wonders in that race.

    • twbb

      Come on, you know a true Democrat never takes advantage of a great line like that said by a Republican. It’s just not gentlemanly.

      • Ossoff is already doing ads based on this remark.

        • twbb

          No true Democrat!

          But good. Maybe as someone with a media background he has better sense for this kind of stuff.

  • Low taxes are a big help when you make $8.00 an hour.

    • NeonTrotsky

      That’s what the less regulation is for silly, so that person making 8 dollars an hour can start a business in between working their three jobs!

      • A business dumping toxic waste in the creek, maybe? That should have low barriers to entry.

        • Snarki, child of Loki

          Since the GOP also “does not support drinkable water” and “does not support breathable air”, at least they’re consistent on the whole “livable” part.

          I just wish they’d lead by example.

        • so-in-so

          That’s the problem, by the time they finish gutting regulation, companies can just dump the toxic waste down the storm drain. No need to hire desperate/immoral people to truck it somewhere else.

          Plus, they need to be able to afford a truck. Not at $8.00 an hour (or less – the minimum wage law will go before the EPA, so it’s the truck or food).

    • $8? LOOOXURY!

      Georgia’s minimum wage is $7.25.

  • rea

    So, she thinks all workers should die?

    • CP

      “Almost all political conflict, especially in the US, boils down to a fight between the Sane Billionaires and the Insane Billionaires. It generally follows this template:
      INSANE BILLIONAIRES: Let’s kill everyone and take their money!
      SANE BILLIONAIRES: I like the way you think. I really do. But if we keep everyone alive, and working for us, we’ll make even more money, in the long term.
      INSANE BILLIONAIRES: You communist!!!”
      – the Internet

      • llennhoff
      • Asano Sokato

        INSANE BILLIONAIRES(cont.): Less education has been correlated with higher birthrate. Take away their education and they’ll make more workers who are even more desperate.
        SANE BILLIONAIRES: You just said that out loud.

        • Rob in CT

          “I love the uneducated.” [insane pretend billionaire]

          • President Putinfluffer

            You can deny it all you want but I am still a Billionaire!

            • Pat

              Especially now that I take away money that was raised to help children with cancer!

              Seriously, that’s what they did.

  • Rob in CT

    I mentioned this in another thread, but after Murc posted about this I went looking for news on it. I checked three sources on the debate: Politico, NYT and CNN (the top three hits I think). 2 of the 3 (NYT, Politico) didn’t mention this line at all. CNN did.

    • Tom in BK

      TPM has the video.

      NYT still gets my money via the crossword, but I’m reconsidering.

      • efgoldman

        NYT still gets my money via the crossword

        You can get 500++ books of NYT crosswords on Amazon. You don’t have to buy the paper.

    • ExpatJK

      Oh NYT, you really are useless.

      • Snarki, child of Loki

        So, I take it you don’t have an incontinent pet bird?

        • ExpatJK

          Well, even if I did, I’d prefer it to use something better than the NYT at this moment.

        • NonyNony

          Personally I had to figure out something to use other than the Times after the bird had destroyed my third iPad.

      • Origami Isopod

        But but but local news! The arts!!!

    • Jordan

      AP’s story (so probably the one most people would read in an actual newspaper) kinda-sorta mentions it, but only at the end and frames it as more of a mis-step when talking about the minimum wage.

    • twbb

      Hey, just be happy the New York Times didn’t report it with the headline “Questions Raised Over Hillary Clinton’s Humanity.”

      • “Giving An Honest Answer, Handel Avoids Clintonian Parsing And Triangulation”

  • Burning_River

    The real bear here is-there are a lot of GOP voters (and Americans writ-large) who think “if the ‘only’ job(s) you can get are in fast food service or retail, you clearly aren’t morally superior enough to deserve to eat, because bootstraps.”

    I’m not sure how much tighter/more challenging things need to get for folks not in the top 20% or so of the income distribution to get this and start putting their economic interests over their racism/sexism/etc-ism. Maybe there is no bar. Certainly has proven true in a lot of other cases as regards Republican voters.

    • Rob in CT

      I know perhaps two people who qualify as WWC. One is a relative who is a high-info strong liberal (who tells me all the other guys he works with – union railroad guys – are, um, NOT).

      The other is a friend (spouse of a friend who became a friend) who gets pissy every time the topic of raising minimum wage comes up (he brought it up). To him, it’s an affront, because he never made more than $X/hr (forget the exact figure). Lazy good for nothings are gonna make more than that (many years later, as he has been – voluntarily – out of the workforce for years), oh hell no!

      Even if he wasn’t a racist (he is), voting Dem would be a tough sell.

      • Burning_River

        Right-I know at least a couple of folks who are in a similar boat. Working class folks in white collar jobs making not nearly enough to thrive, and they get very personally offended at the idea that someone they perceive as ‘less-than’ making close to what they make, as though it wouldn’t eventually bring upward pressure on other wages.

        • CP

          Crab bucket society. We haz it.

        • Rob in CT

          I should clarify… this particular WWC guy is not struggling to survive. He’s now a stay at home dad, and his wife brings in a healthy income (solidly middle class, from what I can tell w/o actually knowing what she makes). They have a house, a couple of cars, 2 kids, etc. They’re closer to the bone than my family (all the income from 1 person alone makes that so), but that doesn’t mean they’re scratching and clawing to make their mortgage payments.

    • sigaba

      How important are the material considerations? And how important are the cultural ones, to wit, policing the class boundaries between “you poor trash,” and “me the upper lower middle class.”

    • NewishLawyer

      There was a depressing article in the Atlantic a while ago that it takes something like WWII to get the rich to believe they need to pay their fair share. Even then it is tough.

      https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/04/taxes-rich/478338/

      • Burning_River

        Where would a French Revolution-type event fall on the continuum?

        • BubbaDave

          Not soon enough?

          • Ithaqua

            I can go for that!

            • tsam

              “I can’t go for that
              No
              Uhhhhh
              No can do
              I can’t go for that..”

              I got the earworm, now you have it.

        • NewishLawyer

          The Bourbons learned nothing and remembered everything as the saying goes.

      • JKTH

        The only non-war instance in the US of raising taxes on the rich a lot came during the Depression, which was back before Keynesian economics was a thing and the government was rushing to balance the budget for no good reason.

        • jmauro

          They were using to balance the budget via cutting spending, not raising taxes. Also the Federal Reserve thought things we’re going too swimmingly once unemployment fell to 13 or 14% or so so they tightened up the monetary system by raising rates. The effect of both was to raise the unemployment back to 19%-20%.

          • JKTH

            Yeah, that was the double dip. I was referring to 1932.

    • twbb

      “The real bear here is-there are a lot of GOP voters (and Americans writ-large) who think “if the ‘only’ job(s) you can get are in fast food service or retail, you clearly aren’t morally superior enough to deserve to eat, because bootstraps.””

      And there are GOP voters who think that if the only jobs they can get are in fast food service or retail, Mexicans Muslims Soros black people NAFTA.

  • howard

    Handel is right that a truly robust economy obviates the need for minimum wage increases, she’s just completely wrong about how you get to a truly robust economy.

    • postmodulator

      Yeah, but the larger point is she no longer feels the need to say that part, and maybe she doesn’t know she needs to say that part. A generation ago, the line was that lower taxes and less regulation and freer freedom was going to improve everything so much that there’d be no need for a minimum wage. I’ve made this point before, but the argument now is that the low taxes and less regulation are the goal in and of themselves, and if wages are low, tough shit.

      • Rob in CT

        She did say that part:

        “What I support is making sure that we have an economy that is robust with low taxes and less regulation.”

        • postmodulator

          She doesn’t go on to say “Which will improve wages.” Or she’s not quoted as saying that.
          They used to say that.

          • Rob in CT

            True. I figured that’s implied. I’m sure much of the audience heard it that way.

            And, as howard said, if we actually had a robust economy (i.e. a tight labor market), wages would rise. It’s true! It’s just that GOP policies have nothing to do with that.

            • WinningerR

              It’s not at all a given that wages would rise for everyone in a “robust economy.”

              • guthrie

                The UK has relatively low unemployment just now, and apparently companies really lack skilled workers, yet wage growth is tiny and all the money seems to end up in the hands of the owning class.

          • NonyNony

            They also used to know better than to say things like “I don’t support a livable wage”. They would instead dazzle the interviewer with bullshit by saying things like “well, if our economy were better then we wouldn’t need to raise the minimum wage because a rising tide lifts all boats so let me explain trickle down economics to you”.

            The Republican primary process no longer selects for candidates who can avoid saying things like that. In fact it seems that these days it actively selects FOR candidates who say what used to be the quiet parts loud and the loud parts quite.

          • Bufflars

            The funny thing is, in her next line she literally said something about this helping small business owners. I guess she assumes that small business owners are more prevalent in her district than close-to-minimum wage earners?

            • Rob in CT

              It’s less crazy that you might think, when you consider propensity to vote.

              If the poor voted the way middle & upper class people do, our politics would be quite different. But they don’t (for a bunch of reasons). And this district is a relatively affluent suburban district, if I understand correctly.

              So the question becomes, how many voters are minimum wage workers (or closely connected to/sympathetic to same) versus how many voters are small business owners or sympathetic to same?

    • Robespierre

      Well, no free market economy will operate without unemployment. You want your wages at least as high as your unemployment subsidies, I guess. Unless you are a republican sociopath, I mean.

      • NonyNony

        I mean, they want that too. Ultimately they want both to be as close to $0 as possible.

  • Jon_H11

    This is amazing. Ossoff would be accused of crass hyperbole if he had said that exact quote: “the fundamental difference between liberals and conservatives is that conservatives don’t support a livable wage”. Ceding the entire language of the debate to the opponent cannot be a good campaign strategy.

  • Perhaps someone should ask her views on child labor.

    • so-in-so

      Well, we know Newt’s. I’m sure hers aren’t any better.

    • They should get a lower minimum wage because they are less productive and can’t carry as much coal with those tiny little hands.

  • El Guapo

    Yes, but her supporters will hear the unspoken words at the end of that sentence “…for those lazy/mooching/blah people.” They will look at their own situation and realize they are (a) doing well above the mean or (b) temporarily embarrassed by misfortune notwithstanding pulling hard on those bootstraps, unlike those people waiting for a living wage handout.

    The answer, for everyone but the top % of the top 1%, should be (c) — never vote for a Republican again.

  • tsam

    This seems horrifying and insane to us, but to your average conservative, this is just Wednesday.

    They do not believe in a living wage. Ask them what they think of the minimum wage, which is less than a living wage, and is FUCKING $5.15 IN GEORGIA. That’s nauseating.

    • wjts

      As I understand it, the federal $7.25 minimum wage applies over the state $5.15 wage in almost all cases.

      ETA: $7.25 is still its own flavor of nauseating, of course.

      • tsam

        Right–I figured that, but the idea of it being codified at $2.10 less per hour than the federal minimum (meant to be a backstop against this sort of thing) is infuriating.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        In almost all cases… except the ones it doesn’t. Like so many things, and much of our political/legal reality sine the New Deal, it’s built upon the modern 20th century interpretation of the commerce clause.

        (Which Chief Justice Roberts doesn’t like.)

        In my fair city, about 20 years ago there was a nail factory that was paying the state minimum wage of $3.10 or somesuch while the federal minimum had risen to $4.25. This was because they made sure to not engage in interstate commerce in any way. (Hmm, wonder where the metal for their nails came from…well, there are steel mills in this state.)

        It’s a grim thing to consider.

    • muddy

      Federal minimum wage is 7.25.

  • Bugboy

    “What I support is making sure that we have an economy that is robust with low taxes and less regulation.”

    You know what conservatives would also support that would fit right in with “low taxes and less regulation”? Labor costs being zero. A.K.A., slavery…

    This is why they don’t like minimum wage, because they hate paying for labor. At. Any. Cost. These are people who think taxation is theft.

    • CP

      Under slavery, they’ll still whine about all the effort they have to put into feeding, clothing, and housing their slaves, and how those lazy bastards should be grateful that they’re getting so much, in fact, they should be paying the masters!

      • Mellano

        “Why, in another six months, uh, six generations, of unpaid labor and religious uplift, their descendants will be ready to join the civilized people of the world!”

    • postmodulator

      This is another point I’ve made before, but with the amount of support that the government has to do for low-income workers (housing, food stamps, Medicaid, subsidized this and that), owning them might actually be more expensive.

      • sigaba

        You know what’s even MORE expensive than the government owning poor people? Throwing them in jail, and we don’t even think twice about doing that.

      • NonyNony

        owning them might actually be more expensive.

        My understanding is that this is what factory owners both in the Northern US and in England figured out by the mid-to-late 1700s – it was cheaper to pay a low wage to the proles than it was to own a slave that you had to house and feed. And if you set your processes up right, even if they dropped dead on the job you could always find another prole to take their place. Much much cheaper than have to provide housing and food and taking the loss if your slave dropped dead on or off the job.

        • Jon_H11

          I tend to think it had more to do the differences in productivity in manufacturing and agriculture. The opportunity cost of a slowdown in agriculture is very small outside of the short planting-harvesting season, but in manufacturing cutting production by 25% costs you a lot of foregone profit. Wage labor allowed you to control the output more effectively under those conditions: fire slow workers, incentivize with higher wages, etc.

        • so-in-so

          There were moves toward slave-staffed factories, one of the reasons many Northern workers opposed slavery and the South’s push to be able to bring their “property” into non-slave states. Also, factories dealt more with boom-bust cycles. It’s easier to lay off then re-hire workers than to sell – buy slaves. Also, the prejudices of the time certainly had many people thinking slaves would be less suited to skilled or semi-skilled factory work.

  • D.N. Nation

    A few thoughts. (I live next to the 6th and watched the debate last night.)

    – I really don’t know what Handel was thinking. It’s not hard to put on your Republican Hat and formulate how you’d say you were against a livable wage *without actually saying it*. “I’m more concerned with cutting taxes on our small business owners, so they’re empowered to grow their business, which benefits their employees.” Ta daaaa! It’s a wave of the hand, sure, but you’re not on camera saying that not only do you think a livable wage can stick it, but that it’s a point of distinction you’re proud of.

    – That said, I’m not sure this is the complete bombshell DC/NYC liberals/leftists are shouting that it is. This district is conservative, mostly well-off, suburban, and hasn’t gone to a Democrat since the 70s. It’s Newt’s old district. Ossoff got a lot of flack from the Daddy’s Money Brooklynite set, despite the fact that there’s zero chance a left-winger would ever win here. (One didn’t even bother running…which is something I enjoy bringing up on Twitter to clueless commentators who act like the BIG MONEY DEMS FORCED OSSOFF DOWN OUR THROATS.) My local Jeopardy broadcast is filled with endless commercials showing photoshopped scenes of Ossoff hanging out with Pelosi and Bernie, booga booga. It’s that type of a district. For everyone who watched live and shook their head at Handel, there were probably quite a few who applauded her for makin’ them moochers work harder.

    – More important is the fact that Handel bombed the entire debate. She was surprised when Ossoff kept hitting her over her disastrous stint at Susan G. Komen…I have no idea why, it’s kind of a big black mark on her record. He got “think of the children” on her w/r/t Obamacare repeal, she did the usual “everyone gets coverage” bit, and he – thank God we hear a Democrat say this – hit her back with “that doesn’t matter when you can’t pay for it.” Perfect. She brought up Nancy Pelosi about 30 times; that’s fine on a :30 spot, but it doesn’t cut the mustard as an answer to every question.

    – Ossoff started stiff and rehearsed and got a little better as the hour went on. His is an odd presence – aloof, an extra in a Sorkin political bit. I don’t see him as the great future of the Democratic Party, but nor is he its betrayer. He’s just a guy. Slightly left of center. Moreso than his district. But Handel is a bad candidate with a not particularly great past. If I were to place a bet, I say she barely wins. I hope she doesn’t.

    • King Goat

      Didn’t Trump win that district? If that’s true, I think she wins no problem.

      • Rob in CT

        My recollection is that he barely won it, whereas past GOP candidates won it handily. HRC came very close to flipping it.’

        But Tom Price won re-election in the same election 62-38.

        • Rob in CT

          But Ossoff did much better than normal for a Dem in the primary(?).

          I still think he’s an underdog, but not dramatically so. He’s got a legit shot at winning.

        • D.N. Nation

          Clinton’s strategy to target moderate Republicans actually worked in suburban Atlanta. There was and is a lot of Trump disgust there.

          • King Goat

            “Clinton’s strategy to target moderate Republicans actually worked in suburban Atlanta.”

            If by ‘worked’ you mean ‘lost but not by as much as expected?’

            And why would we think the Trump disgust will apply to Handel?

            • Rob in CT

              Well, Ossoff sure seems to be trying to tie her to Trump. Just as she is trying to tie him to RW hate figure Nancy Pelosi.

              Also, given that you think Hillary was THE WORST, perhaps you could consider that Ossoff not being THE WORST might also matter?

              I mean, I don’t think he’s the favorite in this race, but it sure looks like he’s got a decent shot.

              • King Goat

                As a lifelong Democrat who lives in the South, I would not get my hopes up about any election in Georgia. Additionally, the more ‘progressives’ are excited about a candidate in Georgia, unless it’s in a minority-majority district, the less excited you should get.

                The idea here is: Trump is unpopular and will weigh down the GOP here! But Trump himself won that district, and this lady is not Trump. Between those two facts it’s pretty obvious: she wins.

                Not to derail things, but since you had to mention it, I don’t think Clinton was THE WORST, just a bad pick. She lost to what Lemiuex called ‘an objectively terrible candidate running an objectively terrible campaign’ losing several, and critical, states that we haven’t lost in decades. Yes, that’s bad.

                • Ahenobarbus

                  Lemieux was wrong to say that Trump was an objectively terrible candidate running an objectively terrible campaign. He was at least bright enough to know that many, many people don’t give a crap about decorum on the campaign trail.

                • King Goat

                  No, he was right. Most winning Presidents don’t lost the popular vote, for example. As hard as it is for many people here who rightly acknowledge the unfairness of it all and who rightfully worked so hard for, her, Clinton was just also a bad one too.

            • D.N. Nation

              She won Cobb County, FWIW.

      • Murc

        I don’t follow this logic.

        Trump won North Carolina in the same election in which North Carolina elected a Democrat governor.

        Ticket-splittiing and flipping from party to party is still a thing, and frankly we’d better hope and pray it remains a thing; it is our only plausible path to power.

        • King Goat

          Is Handel supposed to be thought of as a worse candidate than Trump?

          • Murc

            Again, Pat McCrory wasn’t a worse candidate than Trump and he lost in the same year Trump carried his state.

            I don’t understand the point you’re trying to make. If its that any geographic area that went for Trump will elect any other Republican “no problem” then that is demonstrably, provably false.

            • King Goat

              Why do you think Newt Gingrich’s and Price’s comfortable seat is even in play? Most people’s answer is: ‘Trump.’ If that’s the answer, then the fact that he won that district is a bit of a buzzkill, no? Because maybe you’ll taint Handel with a bit of Trump, but she’s not going to be tainted with Trump *worse than Trump himself!* And if Trump himself still won…

              As an aside, notice how Handel tries so hard to tie Osoff to Pelosi. According to you Osoff should just explain what an effective parlimentarian she is and that’s that, right?

              • Rob in CT

                Why do you think Newt Gingrich’s and Price’s comfortable seat is even in play? Most people’s answer is: ‘Trump.’

                Also Ossoff’s performance so far.

                My understanding is that the district has changed such that it’s not really “Newt Gingrich’s district” anymore.

                But it is Tom Price’s district and that’s certainly reason to think Ossoff might be drawing dead.

                I don’t think anyone here thinks he’s the favorite. Forced to guess, I’d say Handel wins a narrow victory.

                • King Goat

                  This was a special election primary. The most motivated people show up, and that’s really it. On ‘real’ election day most people who didn’t care will go do their ‘civic duty’ and they largely lean GOP.

                • so-in-so

                  Its STILL a special election, and only motivated people will turn out. The question is who is more motivated. And in this case, at least the misogynists will not be on the GOP side.

            • Sly

              Again, Pat McCrory wasn’t a worse candidate than Trump and he lost in the same year Trump carried his state.

              From a theoretical standpoint, this is true. But McCrory was governor of NC for four years, and during that time he repeatedly shit the bed. Trump was mostly an unknown quantity in the state; a rich guy with a TV show who said the things the far-right wanted to here. They didn’t know he was a moron who couldn’t deliver on his promises, and a lot of them still don’t know that.

              And that’s the wedge. Not the malevolence or the corruption – hell, I guarantee you 45% of this country would vote for a convicted pedophile if he made the necessary propitiations before the alter of Mammon – but the incompetence.

      • D.N. Nation

        Trump won the district, but Clinton won the country (Cobb) that comprises much of the district. Both were very close, as is this race.

        • Murc

          Holy shit, Clinton won Cobb fuckin’ County?

          I mean… wow. That place is renowned for its racism. You’d think it would be MAGA hats as far as the eye can see.

          • D.N. Nation

            Clinton: 48.8%
            Trump: 46.8%
            Johnson: 4.4%

            Cobb has gotten a big influx of younger in-town families who have moved just beyond I-285. (Where they put the Braves’ new boondog…stadium.) It’s still a lousy place to live, IMO, but it’s no longer Civil War Reenactment Central.

            • Just_Dropping_By

              Probably worth noting that Johnson almost tripled his vote share in the county over the 2012 results (1.6%).

          • Origami Isopod

            Is there demographic change going on at all? E.g., carpetbaggers who’d moved down to Atlanta (Fulton Co.) moving again to Cobb?

    • Rob in CT

      That said, I’m not sure this is the complete bombshell DC/NYC liberals/leftists are shouting that it is.

      Yeah.

      For one thing, nearly nothing is that kind of bombshell anymore (partisanship trumps nearly everything), and for another, she followed it directly with the usual GOP boilerplate. That’ll be enough for most to rationalize it away.

      • tsam

        Right–and driving down wages has been at the core of conservative economic policy since forever. This isn’t controversial in the least to the average Republican voter.

  • NewishLawyer

    The Austrian Free Economist would say that the left is wrong for treating people like idiots because surely people can see that even if their income went down by 10 percent, if the cost of goods went down by 20-30 percent than they would be richer and able to purchase more.

    Of course the problem is the cost of many things never goes down (like healthcare and education) or sometimes doesn’t go down enough like housing. Costs could also rise while incomes go down.

    But yeah, the GOP believes this shit. I trust Capitalism for consumer goods. Not so much for healthcare and education and other public goods. Housing is a trickier problem.

    • Jon_H11

      “I trust Capitalism for consumer goods. Not so much for healthcare and education and other public goods.”

      I tend to think that the essential modus operandi of contemporary Capitalism is to divert resources away from public goods and towards consumer goods–the whole Private Affluence/Public Squalor Galbraith thesis. Can we balance a trust in capitalism to provide consumer goods and not expect it to corrupt our will/ability to provide for the general welfare?

      • NewishLawyer

        A good counter point but I’m not a Clause IV socialist and plenty of countries manage to have robust social welfare states while still producing consumer goods.

        There is a point to the profit motive.

  • King Goat

    Meh, it’s easy to interpret that answer as ‘I don’t support the government mandated ‘Livable Wage’ movement’s proposals of around 15 dollars an hour’

    Don’t get me wrong, if I’m Osoff I’d stress the more literal way of reading that, the GOP surely would if they had a similar situation.

  • Murc

    You know, a lot of people, and I don’t just mean Republicans but I mean people, treat “the economy” like it is some sort of vengeful, Old Testament style god. Like if we sacrifice to The Economy and obey the commandments of The Economy and propitiate the high priests of the The Economy in the proper way, The Economy will respond by giving us peace and plenty. But if we anger The Economy with our sinful socialists ways, The Economy will smite us, yea, as even The Lord smote Sodom and Gomorrah.

    And it’s like… fuck me, it doesn’t work like that! The economy is a creation of man and it functions according to rules we device and impose on it. The economy is our servant, not our master. When it doesn’t work for people, that isn’t the inscrutable action of an angry god, that’s something we can rectify in the same way we rectify anything else broken.

    The economy exists for the benefit of those participating in it, not the other way around.

    • Rob in CT

      Well put, Murc.

      It fits in with the just world fallacy.

    • Denverite

      The economy is a creation of man and it functions according to rules we device and impose on it. The economy is our servant, not our master. When it doesn’t work for people, that isn’t the inscrutable action of an angry god, that’s something we can rectify in the same way we rectify anything else broken.

      I like your optimism. The pessimistic view that it’s more like the Matrix, and we ain’t Agent Smith.

    • NewishLawyer

      I think LeeEsq puts this well. Lots of Conservative and Libertarians treat the laws of Economics like they are the Laws of Gravity. Liberals have a more malleable relationship with the Economy as something that can be tinkered with.

      • Origami Isopod

        Because the liberal community is the reality-based community.

      • so-in-so

        ” think LeeEsq puts this well. Lots of Conservative and Libertarians treat the laws of Economics like they are the Laws of Gravity.”

        Too much sciency stuff – do we REALLY understand gravity? The Ten Commandments is more in their wheelhouse.

      • leftwingfox

        I disagree. Understanding economics allows us to predict the effects of changes in the market like scientists rather than sacrificing the unworthy at the alter of free enterprise like priests.

        It’s why I tend to call anarchocapitalist libertarians and republicans “Free Market Fundamentalists”.

    • Ithaqua

      What a great analogy.

      I notice that the High Priests, as with most religions, are extremely well-off relative to the mass of the worshippers… but still press for more donations (in the form of tax cuts for the rich paid for by social services cuts for the worshippers).. same as it ever was.

      • Origami Isopod

        As someone here (DAS, I want to say) used to put it, Baruch at’ ha-shuk.

    • Jon_H11

      I believe there was a South Park episode right after the recession that hit this point pretty well.

      Found it:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaritaville_(South_Park)

      After reading through the summary and remembering it, this was just about the most Keynesian drama ever put to screen.

    • Yeah, and the ‘free’ market. There is no such thing. Markets rely on the structure of law in order to operate. With law, all you have is banditry.

    • NonyNony

      The economy exists for the benefit of those participating in it, not the other way around.

      This.

      I’ve been saying almost exactly this for decades now. The economy is supposed to work for the people, the people do not exist for the sake of the economy.

      And the connection to religion is spot-on and exactly the analogy I’ve also been making for years. In fact I think it’s intentional – if you notice the “free markets”, “the Constitution” and “the Bible” are all treated in similar ways by certain conservatives. They hold them up as totems to justify whatever actions they want to take, but when you look at their reasoning you find it hard to believe that they understand any of them (and in the case of the latter two, hard to believe they’ve even read them).

      • Rob in CT

        I remember saying to a conservative (online) once that the Constitution, while a very important and generally good document, is not in fact “holy writ.” I meant that it was like any human creation imperfect and of course we can and have amended it (I don’t recall if I spelled all that out).

        Let’s just say that his response was to basically say no, it is holy writ you heathen.

        • King Goat

          And then later he went on to lament birthplace citizenship…

          • Rob in CT

            I didn’t stick around long enough to find out.

        • BiloSagdiyev

          In the past generation, they really are trying to Jesus-up the whole document, to make it seem like holy orders from on high which mere us mere worms dare not tinker with. The Founding Fathers… inspired by GAWD-Uh.

          (Wanted the government to build roads and have a post office? OK, they don’t Jesus that up much, do they?)

      • Origami Isopod

        It’s just another facet of authoritarianism, really.

      • tsam

        I’ve been saying almost exactly this for decades now. The economy is supposed to work for the people, the people do not exist for the sake of the economy.

        It’s a symbiotic relationship. People feed the economy, and they’re SUPPOSED to benefit from it. The secondary leg there has been chiseled away to unsustainable levels.

      • Mellano

        “The economy exists for the benefit of those participating in it, not the other way around.”

        My father, who for much of his life was a white collar moderate/swingy-y Republican voter, has taken this as his core principle whenever politics came up over the past few years. He’s finally washed his hands of the GOP.

        Anecdotal, but I think this is the economy message Democrats need to be pounding over and over again in every campaign for the next couple of decades. It’s simple, highlights the parties’ contrasts, and offers voters concrete goods. And it’s a clear response to the stagnant job and wage growth that sure don’t look to be going away anytime soon.

    • AMK

      some sort of vengeful, Old Testament style God

      Isn’t Handel an anti-abortion nut, to an extent that goes beyond even the average GOPer? Appeasing a vengeful God is the whole point, the more pain and suffering and flouting of empirical evidence the better. Not for nothing is religiosity still the single biggest predictor of voting GOP.

    • sibusisodan

      ‘Strictly speaking, you see, it’s prayers that go up to the gods,’ said the priest doubtfully. The nave of the temple was deserted, except for a little old man in a grubby robe, dreamily sweeping the floor. ‘As I understand it,’ said Moist, ‘the gift of sausages reaches Offler by being fried, yes? And the spirit of the sausages ascends unto Offler by means of the smell? And then you eat the sausages?’

      ‘Ah, no. Not exactly. Not at all,’ said the young priest, who knew this one. ‘It might look like that to the uninitiated, but, as you say, the true sausagidity goes straight to Offler. He, of course, eats the spirit of the sausages. We eat the mere earthly shell, which believe me turns to dust and ashes in our mouths.’

      • Gizmo

        This was my favorite scene in the BBC adaptation of Going Postal. They really brought it to life. It was one of those rare times when an adaptation was a worthy successor to a book.

    • sigaba

      MOLOCH!

      This really is and has been the central humanist critique of both capitalism and communism, both simply makes materialism a god and human beings its subjects. Everbody is just in thrall to these abstract, impersonal Forces that nobody is responsible for or controls, and are unchageable and eternal and dictate the fourse of history and every human interaction.

    • ArchTeryx

      The thing is “The Economy” is treated like a shibboleth meaning “the .01%” in the conservative lexicon. And the *really* rich very often *are* like vengeful Old Testament gods. They can make entire nation-states dance to their tune and wreck entire sectors of the economy – and in the case of 2008, they crashed the world economy (albeit out of neglect, not vengeance).

      Ultimately they are as dependent on “The Economy” as we are, but they wield a lot more power, and many of them believe that you have to hurt to make people feel that power.

    • Brett

      The economy is a creation of man and it functions according to rules we device and impose on it.

      Interesting theory. I don’t entirely believe it.

    • Just_Dropping_By

      The economy is a creation of man and it functions according to rules we device and impose on it. The economy is our servant, not our master. When it doesn’t work for people, that isn’t the inscrutable action of an angry god, that’s something we can rectify in the same way we rectify anything else broken.

      If this statement was wholly true, there would have been a lot fewer dead Soviet, Chinese, etc. citizens in the early to mid 20th Century and a lot less inflation in the OECD states in the 1970s. The fact that the economy is the product of the collective decision making of humanity does not support the conclusion that it can be “rectif[ied] in the same way we rectify anything else broken,” except for very loose values of the words “rectify” and “broken.”

      Bastiat’s statement from 1850 is prescient on this point:

      The social planners, therefore, lack the force to subject humanity to their experiments. Even though they should win over to their cause the Czar of Russia, the Shah of Persia, and the Khan of the Tartars, and all the rulers who hold absolute power over their subjects, they still would not have sufficient force to distribute mankind into groups and categories and abolish the general laws of property, exchange, heredity and family, for even in Russia, even in Persia and Tartary, men must to some extent be taken into account. If the Czar of Russia took it into his head to alter the moral and physical nature of his subjects, he probably would soon have a successor, and the successor would not be tempted to continue the experiment.

      http://www.econlib.org/library/Bastiat/basHar1.html

      • Brett

        I’m not that pessimistic. We have regulations that work when enforced, public programs that work effectively, and so forth.

        That said, the economy is pretty clearly not just malleable clay for the planners, and a big part of what both markets and states do (sometimes in tandem, sometimes not) is try and tame the more volatile and dangerous process of exchange into socially useful output. “Tame” being the key word there.

      • Murc

        If this statement was wholly true, there would have been a lot fewer dead Soviet, Chinese, etc. citizens in the early to mid 20th Century and a lot less inflation in the OECD states in the 1970s.

        I don’t see any reason why my statement is at all incompatible with the events you describe.

        The fact that the economy is the product of the collective decision making of humanity does not support the conclusion that it can be “rectif[ied] in the same way we rectify anything else broken,” except for very loose values of the words “rectify” and “broken.”

        Yes, it absolutely does. I don’t see how it possibly couldn’t. People have twisted their economies into any number of shapes we’d consider downright insane in order to fit their ideological preferences and for the most part it totally worked. Pre-capitalist economies had structures we’d consider absolutely nutty and unworkable and they persisted for thousands of years because they were enforced by the power of the state, and that’s just one example.

        Bastiat’s statement from 1850 is prescient on this point:

        The statement you quote was both wrong at the time (the general laws of property, exchange, heredity, and family had undergone vast and sweeping state-imposed changes over the course of just the previous century from 1750 to 1850) and was proven even MORE wrong when the Revolution came to Russia.

        • Brett

          was proven even MORE wrong when the Revolution came to Russia.

          Collectivization of farms did not lead to a bounty of agricultural success, no matter how much the regime willed it to be so and enforced at point of arms.

          And that’s not even getting into the many failed experiments they tried in the wake of the October Revolution, such as trying to abolish prices and money outright during War Communism.

          Pre-capitalist economies had structures we’d consider absolutely nutty and unworkable and they persisted for thousands of years because they were enforced by the power of the state, and that’s just one example.

          They persisted because the nuttier stuff was ignored when it was inconvenient (and because all pre-modern states were incredibly corrupt and limited in reach compared to modern governments), which was often even when they actually had the power to enforce it.

          Meanwhile, at the very local level (i.e. small village), you can get away with stuff you can’t at larger levels of population because of social pressure and shared history. And there were real economic advantages underpinning some of it, such as the open field system of medieval Europe.

          • farin

            The economy does what governments tell it to do, not what they want it to do.

          • Murc

            Collectivization of farms did not lead to a bounty of agricultural success, no matter how much the regime willed it to be so and enforced at point of arms.

            Yes, but the collectivization did actually happen. An angry Economy God did not descend out of the sky and smite them.

            They persisted because the nuttier stuff was ignored when it was inconvenient

            So precisely like modern capitalist economies, then.

    • Bruce B.

      Well put. And as part of that view, there’s the idea that there’s a state of well-being for The Economy that’s not at all necessarily related to actual people doing well.

    • President Putinfluffer

      SINNER!~!!

      HERETIC!!!

      ARRRGGGJJJJJJ!

      Oooh you’re gonnna burrn in HEL1 for that one~~~!

  • AMK

    Dems reflectively push back against this crap in moral terms, as they should–starvation wages are wrong because starving people is wrong. But they should make the basic economic case louder–if people don’t have money in their pockets, they can’t buy stuff and the economy declines.

    • Rob in CT

      Sure, both cases should be made. Especially in a district like this (relatively affluent, IIUC).

    • tsam

      Effective (for dumbasses) counter argument: Lower taxes and everyone has more money. But get rid of the EIC because lazy single moms get more back than they pay in. Meanwhile, aggrieved white person, they’re taking your money to fund their lavish lifestyle without even working.

      • Ahenobarbus

        Well, we gotta fight against that narrative.

        ADD: also “without even working” doesn’t really apply when we’re arguing about the minimum wage.

        • tsam

          Yes we do.

          To your ADD: Yeah, the Earned Income Credit (not the “don’t work but have kids” credit) was part of welfare reform, and people who get it still WORK. The problem is that Republicans are lying sacks of shit, and it’s really hard to counter that narrative, but we press on.

      • AMK

        Counter-counter argument:

        1. We should raise minimum wage and lower taxes for the middle class, broadly defined (say, households under $250K)

        2. The Republicans will not lower your taxes unless you’re rich. In fact, they will raise taxes on you through schemes to make up the lost revenue that you will pay but rich people don’t, like border adjustment–basically a national sales tax–and taxing employer health plans. Money is literally being taken out of your pocket and given to people who make more in a week than you do in a year, or a decade, or a lifetime, and who hate you

        Talking about the high end tax cuts is not enough–they need to be connected to the middle class tax raises, and very few Dems do that rhetorically

    • Ahenobarbus

      “if people don’t have money in their pockets, they can’t buy stuff and the economy declines”

      I was thinking the same thing. You give examples: you work as a roofer, but nobody has the money to put into their homes. In a GOP economy, you can get a job as a waiter on someone’s yacht.

    • NonyNony

      This doesn’t work. People who understand this:

      if people don’t have money in their pockets, they can’t buy stuff and the economy declines

      Will either a) already be voting Democrat or b) insist that that’s why taxes shouldn’t exist.

      I mean keep pushing it for the new voters who are entering into the system – younger people are still shaping their worldview and need models like this[*]. But anyone over the age of 25 or so has probably internalized a worldview that tells them how to react to that statement and it isn’t likely to get shaken without some major life-changing personal event.

      [*] I think part of the reason we’re so screwed right now is that the Reagan-era model of “government is to be despised/taxes are too burdensome” was never pushed back hard enough on in the 80s and 90s and so my entire generation grew up thinking that it was normal to hate the government and anyone who didn’t was immediately suspect.

      • Ahenobarbus

        But the thing is, I’ve seen polls show that Republicans favor increasing the minimum wage (although not all the way to $15 an hour). So I’m not sure where this fatalism comes from.

        You could make a strong case that Ossoff shouldn’t push for $15, he should push for $10.

        • Rob in CT

          If you take the 1976* minimum wage ($2.30) and plug it into an inflation calculator to convert it to 2017 dollars, you get… $10.

          Quick ‘n dirty, sure, and I know there are arguments for higher numbers. But it’s a nice round number and vanishingly unlikely to be too high anywhere.

          * went with my birth year because why not?

  • John F

    So… been Googling around and the RWNJs seem to universally believe that Handel DESTROYED Ossoff in the debate- mostly because of her carpetbagging jab, but also because of how the minimum wage question [re]established her as a Republican and not merely a Trumpkin.

    I swear to god support FOR the minimum wage is actually pretty incomprehensible to these people, how they view it:

    1. Minimum wage hurts small employers and therefore leads to unemployment;
    2. Minimum wage jobs are a STAGE, you flip burgers for a year or two before you start your real career/job, so it doesn’t matter if it’s not “livable” on;
    3. Those who can’t get out of minimum wage jobs are losers, and raising the minimum wage merely gives the losers an added excuse to not better their own lot in life.

    Some of this is you look at your peers, if you grow up with middle class/upper middle class white people, and you see someone who has grown up middle class/upper middle class and white- but in his/her 30s/40s is poor, working a dead end minimum age job- the odds are that person really has screwed the pooch- drugs, gambling, etc etc., (and likely has a family safety net that has been enabling such unproductive behavior) – its easy to see someone like that as being a “loser”

    They then extrapolate that to EVERYONE, to people who grew up poor, people without a family safety net, people who work minimum wage jobs NOT BECAUSE THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH IT BECAUSE THEY LIVE FOR FREE WITH MOMMY AND DADDY, but because literally if they don’t work they don’t eat.

    They don’t comprehend that, in their mind everyone and anyone else could have followed their comfortable middle class path if only they weren’t lazy and drug addled.

    • King Goat

      The minimum wage, abstracted from the Democratic Party, does really well electorally. Heck, it won in Arkansas easily recently.

      This tells me there’s something about the Democratic Party, or at least it’s perception, that needs to change.

      • Rob in CT

        Most Dem policy positions poll pretty well. This has been true for a long time. But Dems always underperform that, because identity > policy.

        • King Goat

          “because identity > policy”

          What’s meant by that?

          • so-in-so

            “Sure, I like having health care. And the economy is a lot better since Obama took over. I just can’t pull the lever for a Democrat, know what I mean?”. Said many, many times.

            • King Goat

              “I just can’t pull the lever for a Democrat, know what I mean?”

              It’s key to know what that means and how it can be countered I think.

              • D.N. Nation

                Racism.

                • King Goat

                  That can be countered. We used to get lots of people who might be thought of as racist to vote for us. I’m not saying we reverse policy positions that fight racism, but maybe soft sell some things?

                • Redwood Rhiadra

                  Yes, the Democrats used to get lots of racists to vote for them. By being the racist party

                  You want to go right back to that. “Soft Sell” my ass, what you’re really talking about is abandoning minorities and women.

                  FUCK THAT YOU FUCKING SHITHEAD

              • John F

                I don’t think it can be, other than by convincing younger people to vote Dem and waiting out the R voters.

                Some people vote R (or D) they way they root for the Redsox- NOTHING- will change their vote- they may want the minimum wage increased, they may want to keep the ACA, and those things might affect how they vote in a GOP primary (if they vote in a primary at all)- but come November they will always vote R in the general against the Dem because that’s what they do- that’s what they are.

                THOSE people cannot be reached.

                Who can be reached? People who do not IDENTIFY as Dem or Repub (Conservative or Liberal), which means mostly younger folks. Sure you have people 30+ who every now and then flip or split their ballots.

                There were in fact some people who voted Obama 2008/12 who then voted Trump. If there is some hope it’s this- those people likely did not identify as Dems when they voted Obama, and don’t identify as Repubs now- if the economy is bad in 2020 most of them will vote D [again]. But the fair majority of Trump voters, are Rs, they voted for Romney, they voted for McCain and they missed Dubya in 2009. They can’t be reached.

    • D.N. Nation

      “So… been Googling around and the RWNJs seem to universally believe that Handel DESTROYED Ossoff in the debate- mostly because of her carpetbagging jab”

      You can’t watch network TV down here without a Handel “Ossoff is a carpetbagger who loves Nancy Pelosi” commercial. Anyone swayed by that wasn’t going to vote Ossoff anyway. Someone who hasn’t heard that jab yet who turned into the debate and heard it for the first time…that person doesn’t exist.

      • John F

        I heard she mentioned Pelosi about 30 times.

        I was discussing this with a friend who lives in Georgia, he mentioned that he routinely gets GOP fundraising junkmail/flyers etc., that feature pictures of HRC and Pelosi. He said that for a few years there it was Pelosi and Reid…

        I think that when you live in a blue state you don’t realize how RELENTLESSLY the GOP demonizes Dem Congressional leaders, it’s pretty much non-stop and feeds on itself. GOP supporter can name prominent Dems in Congress more readily than your average Dem can- because the GOP wants GOP voters to know that of the GOP loses the House Pelosi will be speaker and SHE’S A BAD PERSON. And then once the idea that Pelosi is a bad person becomes ingrained she’s then used as a fund raising tool.

        Schumer is starting to get targeted now too- now we NYers have a complex relationship with Schumer. People used to joke that a good way to kill yourself would be to stand between Schumer and a news crew- but Schmuer is in many ways an old style non-ideological type pol, wants to get things done, will cut deals… In a way THAT can be easy to parody and attack, but it’s not the image of Schumer that the RWNJS are trying to create, they are using words like “sinister” and even “demonic” to describe him, and I’m thinking, what the holy fuck?

        • Rob in CT

          I guess we can try the same shit with Ryan/McConnell (tell the truth/give ’em hell). But I’m not sure it would work as well on Dems.

          • D.N. Nation

            Every time I see McConnell begrudgingly campaigning, he shows open disdain for the people who vote for him. He’s got the personality of a grape as well. Somehow it works, and I’m guessing it does entirely because “I’m kicking LIBERAL asses in DC,” which sadly is true.

  • tsam
  • Serf’s up!

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